When to Settle
September 25, 2018
The decision of whether to settle your workers’ compensation claim depends on the circumstances of your case. You do not have to agree to a settlement presented to you by your employer or their insurance company, however, it may be in your best interest to do so. Always consult an experienced work injury lawyer before making any major decisions in regards to your workers’ compensation benefits. It is important to consider the benefits and drawbacks to receiving a workers’ comp settlement before signing an agreement. Once a judge approves your settlement, you may not be able to reopen your case or request additional benefits at any point thereafter.
Workers’ Compensation Settlements in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation settlement agreements are referred to as compromise and release agreements. They are typically paid in lump sum, which workers receive in exchange for their right to future workers’ compensation benefits such as disability payments and reimbursement for medical expenses. However, in certain circumstances, such as when a worker requires long-term care, the insurance company may agree to a structured settlement that allows the worker to receive regular payments over time.
Those receiving workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania may request a commutation of compensation. If approved, the workers’ compensation benefits will be paid in a lump sum without depriving the worker of their other benefits, such as payment for medical expenses.
Workers’ compensation settlements must be approved by a workers’ compensation judge. The settlement is finalized during a hearing at which you will present the agreement and give testimony. If the judge feels it is fair and reasonable, he or she will approve the settlement.
Factors to Consider When Deciding Whether to Settle
There are several important considerations to take into account when deciding whether to accept a settlement:
- Termination of benefits: When you agree to a settlement, you typically give up your right to receive ongoing payments in exchange for a one-time lump sum payment. But, if you spend the money all at once, you may be left without adequate compensation in the future.
- Future medical treatment: If you are likely to need surgery or additional medical treatment in the future, you may not want to give up your right to future payments. Consider whether the amount you would receive in the settlement will be enough to cover all your medical bills for the duration of the injury.
- Timing: Workers’ compensation claims may be settled as early as four months after your injury in Pennsylvania. However, it is often in a workers’ best interest to wait until they reach maximum medical improvement, so they can more accurately assess the value of the settlement.
- Workers’ compensation hearing: If you agree to a settlement, you avoid the often lengthy and difficult process of going to a workers’ compensation hearing. However, going to trial is always risky, and you may even end up with less than you were offered in the agreement.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Protect the Rights of Injured Workers
The decision of whether to settle your workers’ compensation claim can be complicated. To discuss your case, contact an experienced Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Call us at 888-PITT-LAW or complete our online contact form for a free consultation.
We proudly represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester and Wynnewood.